Rose’s Defensive Charges Rising Up For Eagles

Rose’s Defensive Charges Rising Up For Eagles


Sure, Ashland University's football team's offense ran up 42 points in the first half of Saturday (Sept. 16) afternoon's 42-14 win at Northwood in the 2017 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

What shouldn't be lost in that first-half effort was the other side of the scoreboard going into the locker room. The Eagle defense, led by coordinator Tim Rose, who rotated almost the entire travel roster on that side of the ball in the 80-degree heat during the contest, pitched a shutout in the game's first 30 minutes.

The defensive tone was set on the game's first drive, as sophomore inside linebacker Clay Shreve's third-down sack forced a Northwood short missed field goal. The Timberwolves' last six drives of the first half ended this way – punt, punt, lost fumble, punt, punt and halftime.

Shreve led the charge of Ashland defenders in the Northwood backfield, recording 2½ tackles for loss and a sack among his seven total stops. In total, the Eagles racked up eight tackles for loss and two sacks against the Timberwolves – giving AU's "D" 15 tackles for loss and seven sacks in the last two games.

In the first 2½ games of 2017, where the Eagle defense primarily was playing starters, it allowed just five touchdowns.


Wilcox Saving His Best For Last

How does a wide receiver do better than a career average of 26.2 yards per catch and 12 receiving touchdowns in the first two seasons of his college career?

Get catches, yards and touchdowns in bulk. And that's what senior wideout Matthew Wilcox has done so far in 2017.

Through three weeks of the season, thanks to seven catches for 207 yards and a TD on Saturday, Wilcox has caught 16 passes for 386 yards (a 24.1-yard average) in three scores. He leads the GLIAC in receiving yards and reception average, is tied for second in the league in catches and is tied for third in the conference in TD grabs.

With five more catches and 143 more receiving yards, Wilcox already will set a personal single-season high at Ashland in both categories.


Setting The Speed Limit At 40

Ashland has scored at least 40 points in back-to-back games – 47 at home vs. Ohio Dominican and 42 at Northwood. In 2016, the Eagles scored at least 40 points in five games, and in head coach Lee Owens' 13-plus seasons with the Eagles, they have scored 40 or more points 56 times.


Back On Track On The Road

Saturday's win at Northwood came after the Eagles had suffered three three-point losses away from home in the last 365 days.

Overall, however, Ashland is 13-5 on the road since the start of the 2014 season.